Conserving DeHart

A Historic Happening for Clean Water

In 2016, Capital Region Water entered into a partnership with The Nature Conservancy, an international conservation organization, and nearby Fort Indiantown Gap to see that the property is protected for years to come.

After two rounds of public input and significant negotiation, Capital Region Water signed a purchase and sale agreement in April 2016 to place the entire DeHart Property under a permanent conservation easement. A conservation easement is a voluntary, but legally binding agreement that limits specific types of property uses. Capital Region Water agreed to sell specific rights to the property, including rights to commercial development. The Nature Conservancy agreed to hold these rights to ensure the agreement is upheld. Fort Indiantown Gap and their partner, the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, provided project funding though the U.S. Army’s Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) Program. The ACUB program provides resources to Army installations to create land buffers in order to limit encroachments around military bases. The program ensures open spaces are protected and development is limited. Because of these program funds, the U.S. Army is also a named party to the easement. Fort Indiantown Gap was particularly interested in limiting any potential development on the DeHart Property and limiting light pollution to ensure dark skies for military training in the region.

Not only will The Nature Conservancy will hold the conservation easement, but also provide forest management assistance through their Working Woodlands Program. This program is designed to maintain working forest landscapes under conservation easements. Forests are expected to meet rigorous sustainability requirements under a third party accreditation by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The agreement will ensure the property is free of additional forest fragmentation and additional development, maintain excellent water quality, and protect any rare plant or animal communities. The Property will also remain largely open to passive recreation as about 7,000 acres are enrolled under the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Hunter Access Program for hunting, hiking, and wildlife viewing. For your own safety and security, all signage must be obeyed and restricted areas must be respected.